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Ira Rifkin

Ira Rifkin is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Ira Rifkin

NEWS FEATURE: Jesus Seminar faces an uncertain future

By Ira Rifkin — November 3, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service SANTA ROSA, Calif. _ In 1985, an iconoclastic group of Bible scholars with a flair for controversy formed the Jesus Seminar to recover the historical Jesus of Nazareth they said was hidden beneath the layers of mythology attached to him in the 2,000 years since his crucifixion. Breaking the academic […]

NEWS FEATURE: Christian conservatives reconsider Y2K disaster warnings

By Ira Rifkin — October 27, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service UNDATED _ As 1998 drew to a close and the nation suddenly became awash in predictions of possible Year 2000 computer meltdowns, nowhere was the doom and gloom more prevalent than among conservative Christians. Radio and television programs, Web sites and book publishers catering to evangelical and Pentecostal Christians warned […]

NEWS STORY: American Muslims urge Disney boycott over Jerusalem exhibit

By Ira Rifkin — September 22, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ The Walt Disney Co. is getting a firsthand lesson in just how small the world has become, thanks to a controversial Jerusalem exhibit at Disney World’s Epcot park that has brought the bitterness of Middle East politics to Orlando, Fla. American-Muslim groups have called for a boycott of […]

NEWS STORY: Greek Orthodox church installs new archbishop

By Ira Rifkin — September 20, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Demetrios of Vresthena formally assumed the position of archbishop of the nation’s largest Orthodox Christian denomination Saturday (Sept. 18), calling for a new era of unity in a church recovering from years of controversy and bitter infighting. Demetrios became”evangelical shepherd”and”spiritual father”of the 1.5-million Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of […]

NEWS STORY: U.S. criticism of China on religious freedom could impact Clinton-Jiang meet

By Ira Rifkin — September 10, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ A State Department report Thursday (Sept. 9) criticized China for its”government intolerance”of free religious expression, just days before President Clinton is expected to meet with China’s president at an Asia-Pacific summit in New Zealand. The criticism came in the department’s first annual international religious freedom report, a 1,100-page […]

HOLIDAY FEATURE: Praying for the ability to pray

By Ira Rifkin — August 25, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service UNDATED _ Michael Fischer is a 46-year-old Los Angeles resident whose yearly synagogue attendance is generally limited to a few hours on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy Days. It is not a particularly edifying experience. Fischer, the son of a Conservative rabbi, goes to synagogue “basically […]

COMMENTARY: A hollow victory for Jewish muscle

By Ira Rifkin — July 12, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service (National Correspondent Ira Rifkin covers Jewish and Muslim issues for Religion News Service.) WASHINGTON _ Score another victory for American Jewish political muscle. Muslim activist Salam Al-Marayati has been removed from the National Commission on Terrorism following a barrage of criticism over his appointment from Jewish community groups who perceive […]

NEWS STORY: Pope leaves St. Louis, calls millennium a time for “spiritual renewal’’

By Ira Rifkin — January 28, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service ST. LOUIS Pope John Paul II said goodbye to this city and perhaps for the last time to the United States returning to Rome Wednesday (Jan. 27) after telling 100,000 Catholics gathered for the largest indoor Mass ever to look toward the millennium as a time for spiritual rejuvenation. “Living […]

NEWS STORY: Pope leaves St. Louis, calls millennium a time for”spiritual renewal”

By Ira Rifkin — January 28, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service ST. LOUIS _ Pope John Paul II said goodbye to this city _ and perhaps for the last time to the United States _ returning to Rome Wednesday (Jan. 27) after telling 100,000 Catholics gathered for the largest indoor Mass ever to look toward the millennium as a time for […]

NEWS STORY: Pope arrives in United States warning nation faces “time of testing’’

By Ira Rifkin — January 27, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service ST. LOUIS _ Saying the United States faces a “time of testing,” Pope John Paul II began his 30-hour whirlwind visit to this Midwestern river city Tuesday (Jan. 26) by urging Americans to “resist the culture of death” and instead “stand steadfastly on the side of life.” During the first […]

NEWS STORY: American Muslims urge Disney boycott over Jerusalem exhibit

By Ira Rifkin — January 1, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ The Walt Disney Co. is getting a firsthand lesson in just how small the world has become, thanks to a controversial Jerusalem exhibit at Disney World’s Epcot park that has brought the bitterness of Middle East politics to Orlando, Fla. American-Muslim groups have called for a boycott of […]

NEWS STORY: House vote ignores differences in Ten Commandments

By Ira Rifkin — January 1, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ When the House of Representatives voted Thursday (June 17) to allow display of the Ten Commandments in schools and other public buildings, which Ten Commandments did it have in mind? The generally accepted Protestant version? The Catholic-Lutheran version? The Jewish version? The one in the biblical Book of […]

NEWS ANALYSIS: Religious freedom act continues to stir controversy

By Ira Rifkin — January 1, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service HARTFORD, Conn. _ Balancing U.S. foreign policy interests became trickier with passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which requires Washington to factor how it can promote religious liberty abroad into its decisions on security, trade and other diplomatic concerns. Complicating the equation further was the act’s mandate […]

NEWS FEATURE: Sabbath vs. the millennium: Jews debate which to celebrate

By Ira Rifkin — January 1, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service UNDATED _ For Jews, the”December Dilemma”usually means getting through Christmas without being overwhelmed by the holiday’s pervasiveness. This year there’s more: What to do about New Year’s Eve and millennium madness. That’s because Dec. 31 falls on a Friday night, the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Traditional Jewish Sabbath observance […]

NEWS FEATURE: Sabbath vs. the millennium: Jews debate which to celebrate

By Ira Rifkin — January 1, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service UNDATED _ For Jews, the”December Dilemma”usually means getting through Christmas without being overwhelmed by the holiday’s pervasiveness. This year there’s more: What to do about New Year’s Eve and millennium madness. That’s because Dec. 31 falls on a Friday night, the start of the Jewish Sabbath. Traditional Jewish Sabbath observance […]
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